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On Thursday, September 23, Grand Canyon National Park in coordination with The Department of Homeland Security, hosted a naturalization ceremony at the Mather Amphitheatre on the South Rim. This is the first time in history that Grand Canyon National Park has hosted such an event.

 Under blue skies and before a breathtaking view, 23 individuals from 12 different countries including, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Australia, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam and Zambia, became naturalized citizens. Many family members and close friends of the candidates came to show their support for this special event. Park employees and visitors also watched on as the candidates stated the Oath of Allegiance, and received their certificates of naturalization. 

Deputy Superintendent Palma Wilson welcomed the candidates and their families.  The Presentation of Colors was done by the Air Force ROTC Honor Guard of Northern Arizona University. John M. Ramirez, Acting District Director for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) administered the Oath of Allegiance to America's newest citizens.  A keynote address was given by USCIS Ombudsman January Contreras. Ms. Contreras stated, “Everyday, we welcome new and diverse stories and heritages into the great patchwork of our Nation. United by our devotion to the Constitution and to the civic engagement it inspires, Americans remain committed to the fundamental principles established over two hundred years ago.”

This event is part of USCIS’s annual celebration of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. An estimated 9,258 candidates will become citizens at 63 special ceremonies held across the country and around the world from Sept. 13-24.

Constitution Day is celebrated on Sept. 17 in remembrance of the signing of the Constitution in 1787. Since 1952, Citizenship Day has been celebrated in conjunction with Constitution Day, although Congress first underscored the signific
Next session: April 6 to May 18, 2019

Become a U.S. Citizen

For those who are eligible (see below), COPAL's Citizenship Classes are an opportunity to become prepared to take the test required to become a citizen of the United States. We will walk with you through the learning process, provide legal advice, and build relationships within the classroom. See the many benefits of U.S. citizenship below, including gaining the ability to vote, running for office, eradicating fear of deportation, and more. Classes are on Saturdays from 10am to 12:30pm for six weeks. Contact Rico for more information (612)840-2020 and click here to sign up.

As a U.S. citizen, you will be able to:

• Vote in national, state, and local elections. As a citizen, you will have a more powerful voice in your community.
• Run for public office and serve on juries.
• Sponsor family members to immigrate to the United States.
• Gain citizenship automatically for your children (under 18).
• Have a U.S. Passport. You can travel and live overseas without time restrictions or having to obtain a reentry permit.
• Lose your fear of deportation. Unlike people with green cards, a U.S. citizen can never be deported or denied entry to the United States.
• Apply for more employment opportunities. Many government and private jobs require U.S. citizenship.
• Access public benefits. Many government scholarships, loans, and grants are available only to U.S. citizens.
• Solidify your position in the United States. Citizens never have to renew their status or notify USCIS if they move.

In order to be eligible for U.S. citizenship, you must:

• Be at least 18 years old.
• Have been a legal permanent resident (have a green card) for five years. If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you only need to have been a permanent resident for three years.
• Have been physically present in the United States for 30 months during the past five years (18 months if married to a U.S. citizen). You may not have made any trips outside the U.S. longer than six months.
• Have a basic knowledge of English and U.S. History/Civics (age exemptions are available for those who qualify).
• Be a person of good moral character.

For more information and to join our efforts, contact:

Rico Durán
Senior Lead Organizer
C.O.P.A.L. Comunidades Organizando el Poder y la Acción Latina | (612) 840-2020

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